Encounters with urban wildlife

The last thing most urban dwellers want to see on a casual stroll through their neighborhood park is something able to chew you to pieces or swarms of venomous insects buzzing violently just overhead.

I had the very good fortune of seeing both today. About 10 minutes after I told my dog “we might see a coyote with all this fresh poop on the trail,” we round the corner and standing there was Mr. Coyote himself.

Mr. Coyote had all the space he needed to bark, yelp, roll around, eat grass, tell my dog how lame domestication is, poop some more. When in comes a massive swarm of bees, the sound of monster truck wheels buzzing down the freeway.

Wild stuff!

Yet there I was, just minutes from one of the busiest interstates in the world, surrounded by housing developments, huge swimming pools, a municipal airport, cars speeding by.

Experiences like this remind me of the importance of protecting all critters, from those wild creatures who may never see a human being, to Mr. Coyote and his bee friends.

Have you had the opportunity to observe wildlife in an urban setting? Ducks on ponds count.

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18 comments

  1. Great post, Eric. I live around 40 minutes from downtown Chicago but I still have deer and coyotes and birds nesting at my house. I’ve got all the woodland creatures over at my place. It’s like a Disney movie. I love it. There’s nothing better than encountering a deer in your yard. They’re so magnificent. One year a baby deer fell in our pool. The mother went insane, making a noise that sounded like screaming. Finally someone who was working at my house heard the commotion, jumped in the pool and saved the baby. It was wild. (I only caught the tail end of the drama otherwise I would have jumped in myself.)
    I get very distressed when I see animals confused and trapped in urban settings. Many city dwellers seem to be ignorant when it comes to dealing with those issues.

    1. Funny how Illinois is laid out, huh? Endless acres of fields or city cement interrupted by intermittent patches of really nice hardwood forest. And your yard sounds like it’s in one of those really nice patches of hardwood forest! Did you see the baby deer again?

      1. No, I don’t think I did see it again. But to be fair, there are so many around here. I’m assuming it lived and was fine. Somebody was saying that the deer like to protect their young by staying close to houses. It may be their way of keeping the coyotes at bay?
        I love that you’re a wildlife lover. I can’t imagine having a relationship with anyone who disrespected nature. It’s a make or break thing for me. Seems like most of the people that blog have kindness and are sensitive to such things. It makes me feel a lot better about humanity.

  2. Unfortunately I do not see enough wildlife in the city of Toronto. Occasionally a butterfly, some birds (among which are many pigeons), and at times the dandelions that have escaped pesticides.

  3. When we went looking at houses in anticipation of a move to Oregon in about a year we saw a deer and were told never to plant tulips, but daffodils are ok. and to put a high deer fence around any vegetable garden we hope to harvest. LOL Here in West Virginia we even had a bear in our town park,…or at least a rumor in the newspaper.

    1. Never knew that. Oregon deers love tulips, eh? I wonder why they don’t have a taste for daffodils. Bitter, maybe? If the bear in the town park story does indeed turn out to be a rumor, you’ll let me know, right?

  4. We get moose, cougars, even the odd bear, along with the deer and coyotes. the come from the mountains and follow the river right into downtown Calgary at times.

  5. When we first moved to New Orleans in early 2006 there were alligators, nutria and black bear living inside the city limits. I was privileged to see a hawk snatch a sparrow from a fence post about three feet in front of me, and an alligator lunged at me on a bike path in city park. Nowadays it’s just stupid tropical transplant parrots and norway rats. Civilization is a bitch.

    1. Ecology will work its way out over time. Soon enough the hawk will snatch up the gator, who snatched you off your bike, who snatched Norway rats and tropical transplant parrots from the pet store.

  6. I’ve seen lots of deer at the river close to my house and there was a really sweet silver looking fox we would watch. Turtles, snakes, raccoons, beavers. My brother owned some land in the mountains a few years back and we would go camping there. He said once they had a bear come into there camp (they hid in his jeep) and watched the bear tear open an ice chest and run off with some steaks!

  7. Mostly just fox but once while driving my car I did see three coyotes slightly in the woods by the side of the road. I think if it hadn’t been so many I never would have seen them because they blended in well.

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